Royal Caribbean looks to Oct relaunch
ROYAL Caribbean International believes there is a possiblity of recommencing operations in Australia within the next two months, according to the brand’s President & Chief Executive Officer Michael Bayley.
Speaking to investors following the second quarter earnings announcement of parent company Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), Bayley noted the company’s sailings are currently suspended across the globe, with potential for China and Australia to be first for a restart.
“It may well be possible that we’ll resume operations in China, and potentially Australia, before the end of Oct but it’s uncertain,” Bayley said.
“I’m not making any statements that’s going to happen, but there’s some possibility.”
Bayley also suggested Royal Caribbean was considering compulsory COVID-19 swab testing for all passengers prior to embarkation in some markets.
“Testing seems to be very relevant and discussions are under way,” he said, adding it was too early to release further info.
However “particularly as it relates to the Caribbean, that testing is very much at the front of how people are thinking of protocols for returning,” Bayley added.
The comments about an Australian recommencement came as the group reported a US$1.6 billion net loss for the three months to 30 Jun.
Royal Caribbean Group is currently burning between US$250 million and US$290 million in cash per month while operations are suspended, and is “considering ways to further reduce its average monthly cash burn under a further prolonged out-of-service scenario and during restart of operations”.
RCG Chief Executive Richard Fain noted the impact COVID-19 was having on shipyard operations, which will result in delivery delays for a number of newbuilds.
However Silversea’s Silver Moon will still arrive this year, followed by Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas in the first quarter of 2021 and Silversea’s Silver Dawn in 2021.
Other ships previously scheduled for delivery next year, including Wonder of the Seas and Celebrity Beyond, are now expected to arrive in 2022.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is posing an unprecedented challenge to our industry and society,” Fain said.
“Our teams are working tirelessly to return to service soonest and doing so by developing new health and safety protocols.”